Why homeschool? Homeschooling is a big (fabulous and fun, but big!) decision. Not only is there responsibility (don't worry, you can handle it!), but society (and sometimes family and friends) aren't always on board with our decision. When you are certain in your mind of your reasons, then that will enable you to keep your eye on the ball when things get challenging.
Cementing your reasons for homeschooling in your mind will help you keep on when confronted by naysayers, frustrated children, frustrated YOU. It’ll keep you calm and steady.
(Of course you CAN change anytime. There is nothing wrong with changing course thoughtfully. You might take stock of your situation a month or year down the road and say “It’s time to try a private school or public school.”. Those are decisions that you can make at any time.)
However, you want to make sure that you aren’t going to overreact to a bad week, a bad curriculum, or a difficult, but short, time in you and your child’s life. If you know why you are homeschooling, you can figure out if you are doubting because you really need to reconsider (for example, the local private school has asked you to work there and your children can attend for free), or if you’re just having an hard time (Bobbie hates math and you are both in tears over it).
So take a moment to list your personal reasons for homeschooling. It’s ok if it is only one reason! That one reason can mean 100%.
Here are some possible reasons to help you get started:
1) I just want to. I enjoy spending time with my child and teaching him things. (YES! “I just want to” is a PERFECTLY valid reason!)
2) My child is exceptional in some way (gifted, autistic, sensory integration disorder, slow to adapt, particularly talented, prone to asthma attacks, highly allergic, ADD/ADHD, dyslexic, etc.).
3) Our family is exceptional in some way (travel frequently, anticipate moving soon, father works nights so the family sleeps in the day, someone in our family competes in something on a national level and needs to travel for competition, our family business needs flexibility and help).
4) I am concerned about safety in schooling (either you or your child were frequently bullied, high crime area, local schools seem to be lax about safety issues).
5) Our family has either political or faith-based differences that clash with the current school system (immunization concerns, etc.).
6) The local schools seem to be overcrowded or are not functioning highly, and we cannot afford/choose not to use private schools.
7) I want a more flexible learning strategy with my child. I believe that education is best learned “hands on” instead of sitting at a desk. Or my child is a more visual-spatial learner than the auditory-sequential learning that current schools utilize. Or my child will actively seek to learn more using the computer, but balks at writing.
8) I remember wanting to go deeper into subjects than I got to in school, and I want my child to have the ability to explore a subject as much as they want to.
9) Husband has asked me to. I am a little worried, but am willing to try.
10) We prefer to raise our children in a multi-generation setting as opposed to dividing up into age mates for most of the day.
11) I have always wanted to be a teacher.
12) I am not ready to let my child be away from me that long. My child is having trouble separating from me and needs a little more time. We have a deployment, a long term care situation, a critical illness, and our family is in a bit of “hunker down” mode emotionally.
13) I am concerned about negative socialization (more on that in another post later).
14) I believe it is the parent’s duty to teach the child, not someone else’s.
15) I believe that no other teacher will have as much invested in my child as I do. I have the time to devote to my child that a teacher can’t have.
16) I believe that it makes sense that one-on-one teaching is more effective than 20 or 30-on-one.
17) I want to avoid labels. If my child is slow at something, I want them to have time to “get it” without feeling behind or labeled. If my child excels at something, I want them to have the room to go farther, faster without being held back. If my child tends to be more energetic, I want him to have the ability to work with his individual self instead of being labeled.
18) My child is not quite ready (is not potty trained, etc.).
19) The Lord has been leading me to this and answered my prayer for wisdom clearly.
20) Our family has no particular reason. Everything is normal in our family. Local schools are just fine or even excellent. I don’t see that there would be a problem in school at all. I just feel like homeschooling. I just want to (again, that is a perfectly valid reason!).
Your why is very personal to you and your family. It’s ok if other people don’t understand it—they have their own why’s with their own children. Be respectful if challenged, listen thoughtfully to any criticism to make sure there isn't a nugget of gold in there you can use, but be politely firm.
Why is your family homeschooling? Because it is the right choice for you. That is enough. You can do this!
Are you homeschooling already? Do you have any words of wisdom for those new to homeschooling? Feel free to let us know!